This is the greatest of all Austrlian Silent films. Made just before the advent of synchronised sound, this film had a limited period of commercial viabilty before it dissapeared from sight. Based on the serialised novel by Marcus Clarke, this was the most expensive film produced in Australia at the time. It costed 50,000 pounds when the average Australian film was made for around 1000 pounds.
The film stars George Fisher as Richard Devine/Rufus Dawes/John Rex and Eva Novak as Sylvia Vickers and was adapted, produced and directed by Norman Dawn, who later went to Hollwood and made classic B-grade movies like "Bowanga Bowanga" and "Two Lost Worlds".
"For The Term of His Natural Life" was remade as a 6 episode 9 hour mini series with Colin Friels and Anthony Perkins.
Dr Feel Rotten
January 22, 2011
I'm not a big fan of most silent films, but this one just got me good. I really enjoyed it and empathized with Dawes throughout. Sadly the prison system in the US has reverted back to this kind of savagery almost stopping just short of forced harsh labor and floggings but teeters ever so closely to it on a daily basis.
February 3, 2009
A rare and unusual gem
Thank you so much for uploading this. I watched and loved the totally absorbing and gripping TV series of this story when it aired here in the UK in the early 1980s, and it had stayed in my memory as a TV classic ever since. I kept hoping it would be repeated so that I could record it, as I did not have a VCR back in those days, but no luck, and attempts to find it in later years commercially on either VHS or DVD were also fruitless. Then two months ago I found one DVD copy of it on eBay Australia and was overjoyed to buy it and watch it all again.
Then along comes this upload, and it has been fascinating to see how the early movie and the modern TV series compare, picking out bits that are remarkably alike and those that are very different. This too is a very gripping film and it is only a pity that, having been made so close to the beginning of the talkies, it didn't get made as a talkie. But as silent films go, this is very well produced and its large budget does show.